Review: Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees

The People in the Trees

Hanya Yanagihara

If not the best novel I read this year, among them. Super-duper icky and disturbing, but deeply compelling story of a scientist who travels to a remote pacific island and finds a substance that can allows those who eat it to live forever.

Basically (and intentionally), a b-movie plot on the surface, but told in a way that is really, really not b-movie style. Gorgeous writing, featuring deeply troubled characters, horrific (sometimes sexual) violence, child abuse, ecological collapse, terrible family dysfunction, the works. It isn’t an easy read. There were times when I felt physically sick from descriptions, but it tells us something, about the scientist at the center of the story, but also about the way we interact with each other, with that which is new, and with that which is different. It’s an important and challenging book and I’d really like to talk to you about it. You should check it out.



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  1. 2016: My Year In Books | Milo and the Calf

    […] this year including Family Life,  Too Like the Lightning, Distant Star, the Fifth Season  and People in the Trees, but I’m choosing Winter in the Blood, because it resonated with me so long after I closed it. It […]

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